Pennsylvania Governor’s Invasive Species Council Celebrates Third Annual PA Native Species Day at Big Elk Creek State Park

The Pennsylvania Governor’s Invasive Species Council highlighted the importance of protecting native plants, insects, and animals during the third annual Pennsylvania Native Species Day at Big Elk Creek State Park in Chester County.

The Department of Agriculture-led advisory council brings state agencies, local
governments, and environmental organizations together to make recommendations and spearhead strategies to tackle invasive species threats to our economy and environment and promote benefits of nurturing native plant and animals.

“Protecting our environment starts with each of us,” said Department of Agriculture
Deputy Secretary Fred Strathmeyer. “By planting native species in our gardens and
yards, we create vital food and shelter for native wildlife and pollinators critical to our
food supply. This simple act strengthens biodiversity and creates a healthier ecosystem.
Let’s work together, on Native Species Day and year-round, to support the
organizations and business that promote native plants and ensure a thriving
environment for generations to come.”

Healthy native ecosystems provide numerous benefits, including clean water, diverse
recreation opportunities, and a thriving economy. Invasive species, lacking natural
predators, disrupt these ecosystems and harm native wildlife.

“Increased global trade and travel have escalated the threat of invasive species on the
commonwealth’s 2.2 million acres of state forests, millions of acres of state park and
game lands, and millions of acres of private forestlands,” said Jason Hall, a Regional
Forester with Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). “DCNR
combats invasives through training, outreach, and collaboration with other agencies.
Protecting native plants and forests ensures beautiful and productive landscapes for
future generations.”

“Conserving and protecting native aquatic species happens when we recognize their
value and actively help to minimize threats against them,” said Tim Schaeffer,
Executive Director, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. “With boaters
already taking to the water to enjoy the warmer weather and action-packed spring
fishing, they can do their part by taking the plugs out of their boats when leaving a
waterway, draining any water that may harbor invasive species, and cleaning vegetation
from motors and other parts of the boat’s exterior. In fact, those proactive steps are
now required as a result of new regulations that went into effect for this boating season.”

“Pennsylvania has 480 native bird and mammal species reliant on healthy ecosystems,”
said Scott Bearer, Chief Land Manager, Pennsylvania Game Commission. “Invasive plants and insects disrupt these ecosystems. Controlling them is complex and expensive, but we work with partners to ensure healthy habitats for wildlife now and for the future.”